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Buenos Aires Classic Styled Racecourse

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It was one of the first places in Argentina where all the social classes were mixed together. Towards the end of the 19th century, horse racing was one of the main collective attractions of the inhabitants of the City of Buenos Aires. They say that on the day of their inauguration, on May 7, 1876, around 10,000 people were able to see the first race on the track that today has been witnessing the history of the Argentine turf. The racecourse of Palermo was a major event for the society in its hayday. There, some of Argentina’s wealthiest ranchers could come face to face with farmworker who was going to bet what little he could.

The main entrance, neoclassical style.
Source: Brando – Credit: Claudio Larrea

The first version of the racecourse was Victorian in style. The main stand was the sole protagonist and was built of wood and metal with a zinc roof, and would last only about three decades.

The spirit of the Belle Epoque was going to transform everything between 1908 and 1912 when the managers of the institution, in the hands of the Jockey Club, allowed themselves to be enchanted by the fine lines of the French neoclassical architecture and decided to turn the building into the closest thing to a palace.

It was originally a modest building of wood and metal. Then rebuilt under the inspiration of the Belle Epoque.
Source: Brando – Credit: Claudio Larrea

For the renovations they hired the French architect Louis Faure Dujarric, who had built the central court of Roland Garros. Wood and metal were replaced by cement and emphasis was placed on the expressiveness of straight lines and the minimum two-dimensional ornamentation.

Today, the turf coexists with cultural and gastronomic events.
Source: Brando – Credit: Claudio Larrea
Exterior view of the first grandstand, 1876.
Source: Brando – Credit: Claudio Larrea

In 1912 the confectionery La Paris – where a craft brewery now operates – was inaugurated, continuing the dialogue with the French neoclassical. The Paddock Grandstand, which sits on the side of Dorrego Avenue next to the Exhibition Round, had been built towards the end of the 19th century while the other two were added in 1940.

Source: Brando – Credit: Claudio Larrea
Grandstand built in 1940.
Source: Brando – Credit: Claudio Larrea

As an Ultra-ParisianU detail, Dujarric brought two replicas of Marly’s horses, whose originals are in the Louvre, to place in the court of entry of the work guarding her. ( see the top photo )

The landscaping is of a naturalistic style which relates directly to the arrival of Carlos Thays, the famous French landscape architect who was hired to open a green lung in the heart of the city.

The main race track is 2,500 meters long, is composed of sand, slime and clay and has a drainage system that makes it possible for horses to run in all weather conditions. The soil is also regularly controlled by the Technical Mineral Institute (Intemin).

In the 1950s, when the racetrack passed into the hands of the government, the jockeys were first introduced to the. In 1978, Marina Lezcano was the first female rider to win the quadruple crown: the Argentine Republic Grand Prix, the Pollas, the National team and the National. The four derbies are still the most important in the turf calendar.

Source: La Nacion ( translated )

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